Thrace, the birthplace of Orpheus, is a land of bare, windswept hills and melancholy, marshy plains. Bordering on Greece and Bulgaria, it has been blessed or cursed with a long and eventful history. When the Romans formed the Province of Asia, they constructed the Via Egnatia the main route from Rome to the east. Today the sound of marching legionary feet has been replaced by the thunder of heavy lorries on the E5, Turkey's main road link with Europe, which follows the line of its Roman predecessor.
During the Byzantine period the so called Long Wall was built c 64km to e W of Constantinople to protect the capital from barbarian attacks. The wall, which was c 45km long, 5m high and 3m wide ran from the Sea of armara to the Black Sea coast. It was strengthened during the reign of Anastasius (AD 491-518).
There are fruquent express bus services from Istanbul's Topkapi otogari to Edirne. Motorists leave Istanbul by the Londra Asfalt and then follow the There are frequent express bus services from Istanbul's TopkapI otogarI to signs for Silivri, corlu, Luleburgaz and Edirne. Traffic on this road is very heavy and delays are frequent. The road as far as Buyukcekmece is dull and uninteresting. At Kumbergaz, a weekend refuge for Istanbulers, there are a few breaks in the dreary urban sprawl and an occasional, fleeting the Sea of Marmara. look on glimpse of At the approaches to Silivri, the ancient Selymbria or Selybria, the left for a graceful Ottoman bridge. This is one of a chain of bridges built by Sinan over lagoons where Suleyman liked to hunt. The sultan was almost drowned here by a flash flood on 20 September 1563. He had to scramble on to the roof of a pavilion to avoid the rapidly rising waters. from Megara, a district in Selymbria was founded in 677 BC by Greece between the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs. In the 3C BC it was absorbed by its more powerful sister colony, Byzantium, which had also been established by Megarians. In addition to the few late Roman and Byzantine architectural fragments in the Kale Park, you can see the fine early 16C Piri Mehmet Pasha Camii.
For Tekirdag take the signposted left-hand fork on to the E25 c 15km to the W of Silivri. After 15km a turning on the left brings you to the picturesque fishing village of Marmaraereglisi. Here there are ruined fortifications, an acropolis, ancient harbour, theatre and stadium of the Samian colony of Perinthus Heracleia. Do not miss the 16C Ayaz Pasha Camii and the open air museum in the amphitheatre. There is a small beach.
Tekirdag is a port and seaside resort favoured by Turkish holidaymakers. Its old houses have an air of decayed gentility which lends the town an attractive faded charm. The fish restaurants on the sea front are famous.
Information and Accommodation. Tekirdag has a single hotel, the one-star Yat Oteli, YalI Cad. No. 8, the Sozer Pansiyon, Yali Cad.; No. 107 and a motel, the Miltur Tur. Tesisleri, Kumbag Koyu on the Ministry of Tourism list. The Tourist Information Office is at Ataturk Bulv., Iskele YanI, No. 65.
History. Originally a Thracian settlement, Tekirdag was known as Bisanthe after the establishment of a Samian colony on the site. Its name was changed to Rhaedestus when it became the capital of Pezos the king of Thrace. Subsequently it was called Rodosto, Rodoscuk and, romantically, Tekfurdag, the Mountain of the Byzantine Prince. It was captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1357.
Visit the 16C Rustem Pasha Camii and the Bedesten both designed by Sinan. The Archaeological and the Ethnographic Museum, housed in the ornate Naval Club, has a collection of plant and animal fossils, prehistoric artefacts and pottery, architectural fragments, inscriptions, grave stelae, statues, terracotta figurines, amphorae, glass and coins from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. In the ethnographic section there are Ottoman inscriptions, embroidery, weaving, jewellery, copper utensils, and costumes.
A house in Tekirdag, once occupied by Prince Ferenc II Rakoczi (16761735), the Hungarian patriot who led an unsuccessful revolt against Austria, was converted into a museum by the Hungarian government in 1932. Among the Rakoczi memorabilia are Hungarian weapons, documents, paintings and his flag. The prince's last years were spent as a Carmelite friar first in France and later in Tekirdag where he died.
Leaving Tekirdag, you have two choices-return to Silivri and continue the journey as described below to Edirne via corlu or go first to Gallipoli and follow this route in reverse order. At the time of writing, the coastal road to Gallipoli had a very uneven surface. It passes many vineyards and frequent views of the Sea of Marmara. For a description of Gallipoli, see below. At corlu, the ancient Cenuporio, the emperor Aurelian (AD 270-75) was murdered by his generals while campaigning against the Persians. The town fell into the hands of the Ottomans in 1359. On 25 April 1512 the Janissaries forced Beyazit II to abdicate and put his son Selim I (1512-20) on the throne. The next day Beyazit left Istanbul for his birthplace, Demo. tica, but died at corlu, ostensibly from natural causes but probably from poison administered by his doctor on Selim's orders. Just outside the town there are the ruins of a Roman bridge which carried the Via Egnatia over a small river. No trace remains of the kulliye which Sinan built for Suleyman in corlu.
Luleburgaz, ancient name Bergula, was a staging post on the Thracian road from Perinthus Heracleia (see above). Its name was changed in the late 4C AD to Arcadiopolis in honour of the emperor Arcadius (395-408). A fine 2C AD Roman copy of a Greek statute of Apollo found in Luleburgaz is in the Edirne's Archaeological Museum. The Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Kulliye, built by Sinan in 1569--71 for Suleyman's grand vizier, merits a visit. In addition to the mosque, the medrese, hamam, a turbe and a market still stand. However, only the portal of the caravanserai remains. Sokollu Mehmet (1505-79) was a Christian boy from Bosnia who was selected under the devshirme system and brought to Istanbul. He rose to a position of power in the administration during the latter part of the 16C.
Traces of Bronze Age occupation have been discovered in Babaeski, 19km W of Luleburgaz. The only building of interest is the Semiz Ali Pasha Camii which was built by Sinan. At Havsa the Kasim Pasha Camii of 1576 is also the work of Sinan. It commemorates the son of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha. The approach to Edirne is charmless: the road passes through a dank bogland where sedge-rimmed pools reflect a pallid sky. In the early evening, you may be rewarded by the sight of a livid, apocalyptic sunset like those found in the canvases of some medieval German painters.
Edirne, like many border towns, has a frenetic air. The streets are full of foreign voices and crowded with off-duty soldiers-a reminder of its proximity to Turkey's borders with Bulgaria and Greece. Since its foundation at the confluence of the Meric and Tunca rivers, the ancient Hebrus and Tonsus, this town has been fought over, captured, sacked, burned and rebuilt. For a time it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the 20C it was just a minor halt for the Orient Express. Edirne is vibrant, exciting, sensual, hard, European and Oriental at the same time, frequently exasperating, but seldom boring.
Information and Accommodation. It is not well provided with good hotels. On the Ministry of Tourism list there are two with two stars, three with one star. The Rustempasha Kervansaray Oteli, which occupies an inn built by Sinan, a grade two motel and a pension are also listed. The Tourist Information Office, which has a rather relaxed attitude to its duty towards visitors, is at Hurriyet MeydanI No. 17. There are frequent bus services to Istanbul. Long-distance coaches to various European destinations pass through Edirne and it is still served by the successor to the Orient Express.
History. According to Strabo, the territory of a tribe called the Odrysae stretched along the Hebrus river as far as Odessus (Varna). It is believed that they established a settlement here called Odrysia sometime in the 7C BC. Later the Orestae, an Epeirote tribe, settled in the area and founded a town called Orestia. Both places maintained their separate identities until AD 125, when they were combined and named Hadrianopolis (Adrianople) in honour of the emperor. Hadrian made it a garrison town and set up an armaments industry. During the reign of Diocletian (284-305) Adrianople was one of 15 places in the Eastern Empire which had fabricae for the production of shields and arms. The fabricences were organised into trade guilds and exercised considerable influence on the city's affairs. Diocletian divided Thrace into four provinces and made Adrianople the capital of one of them.
In AD 343 a dissident council of bishops met in Adrianople. This condemned Athanasius and the clergy, who supported him, and promulgated a new creed which differed from that formulated at Nicaea. The bishops and their conclusions were not popular with the town's people. The fabricenses played a leading part in demonstrations against this Arian council.
Licinius, emperor of the east, a Dacian peasant who had been made Augustus by Galerius, was defeated by Constantine I the Great in 324 at Adrianople. Thirty-four thousand men were slain in this battle. Licinius was later captured and, according to Gibbon, asked pardon for his offences. He 'laid himself and his purple at the feet of his master, was raised from the ground with insulting pity, was admitted the same day to the imperial banquet, and soon after sent away to Thessalonica... His confinement was soon terminated by death'. On 9 August 378 the eastern emperor Valens (364-378) was defeated by the Goths in a battle waged near Adrianople. The emperor and many of his officers and soldiers perished in the slaughter.
The city and the area around it was besieged many times and held by many foreign armies. During the Second Crusade (1147-49) members of the German contingent burned a monastery and murdered all the monks because one of their band had been killed by robbers. In 1188 Frederick Barbarossa wintered here.
Adrianople was taken by the Ottomans in 1362. It replaced Bursa as the seat of government and was renamed Edirne. Cannon forged in Edirne helped Mehmet II to take Constantinople. During the years of Ottoman rule the city was adorned with many fine buildings by Murat II, Suleyman the Magnificent and other sultans. Suleyman liked to hunt game in the countryside around Edirne with dogs and falcons, only returning to Constantinople when the croaking of the frogs became unbearable!
During the last years of the Ottoman Empire the fortunes of Edirne declined. Its possession by Turkey was disputed by the Bulgarians and the Russians. The treaty of Adrianople of 1829 recognised the independence of Greece and of a number of Danubian principalities. The city was occupied by the Russians in 1829 and 1878, by the Bulgarians in 1913 and by the Greeks from 1919-23. It was returned to Turkish rule by the 1923 treaty of Lausanne.
It is said that Edirne had nearly 300 mosques when it was the second city of the Ottoman empire. The oldest extant mosque, Eski Cami, was built of cut stone and brick in 1402-14. According to an inscription over the door the architect was HacI Alaettin of Konya and the builder omer ibn Ibrahim. Work was commenced by Suleyman celebi, son of Beyazit I, following his father's defeat by Tamerlane at the battle of Ankara. It was completed by his brother Mehmet, after he overcame and killed Suleyman and another brother Musa in the course of a dynastic struggle. The mosque, which resembles Bursa's Ulu Cami in style, is a square structure divided into nine sections, each covered by a dome. Damaged by fire and by an earthquake in the 18C, it was restored by Mahmut I. Further restoration was carried out in 1924-34. Note the fine white marble portal and the decorative calligraphy on the interior walls and pillars and on the mimber.
The restored Rustem Pasha Keravansaray nearby has been converted into a hotel. Built by Sinan between 1560 and 1561, the caravanserai is in two parts. One was reserved for the merchants of Edirne, the other for travellers. In summer the beautiful central courtyard, which is shaded by a plane tree, is filled with the heady scent of flowers. The hotel is a popular place for weddings and the family celebrations which follow sunnet ceremonies. These are often noisy and continue late into the night.
Edirne's bedesten, with its 14 domes, is not far from Eski Cami. It was built by Mehmet I shortly after the completion of the mosque. Like all bedestens it was used by merchants as a secure place to display and store their valuable goods.
The Semiz Ali Pasha Arasta is also the work of Sinan. Completed in 1589, it is a long tunnel-like building with shops on both sides. Here you may buy one of Edirne's specialities, soap shaped like fruit or vegetables. Many of the shops sell new and second-hand books.
The 12C Kule KapIsI is all that remains of the tower which once protected the principal gate of the citadel. It was rebuilt by John Comnenus II (1118-43) as part of his repair of the Hadrianic defensive system.
At the time of writing the uc sherefeli Camii was closed for necessary restoration. Its name is derived from the three balconies, uc sherefe, on the SE minaret. Each balcony is reached by a separate stairway. The decorative tile designs on the minarets are all different. The mosque of Burgaz limestone was completed in 1447 during the reign of Murat II. It too was damaged by fire and earthquake in the 18C and restored by Mahmut I (1730-54). In the centre of the colonnaded courtyard there is a fine shadIrvan. The prayer hall is covered by a dome c 23m in diameter. The largest Ottoman dome constructed up to that time, it is supported on the N and S by the walls and on the other sides by two enormous hexagonal pillars. This design allows most worshippers to have an unrestricted view of the interior.
uc sherefeli, according to Goodwin, 'is dark and mystical and its mood strange for an Ottoman building', and, he affirms, its dome 'was the most important development in the structure of the mosque in the fifteenth century'.
At the back of the mosque there are some picturesque Ottoman houses which are still inhabited. A few have been restored.
Across the road from the mosque is the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha HamamI which was built by Sinan in 1568-69. The fine dome and plasterwork of the disrobing room are noteworthy, but the Iznik tiles have disappeared. The hamam is open to men only.
Edirne's crowning glory, the Selimiye, was built for Selim II the Sot (1566-74) by Sinan who was Darus-saadet, Architect of the Abode of Felicity, for 50 years. It was the masterpiece of Sinan's old age. He was 79 when it was completed in 1575. It is said that he regarded the shehzade Mosque in Istanbul as apprentice work, the Suleymaniye as journeyman work and the Selimiye as his chef d'oeuvre.
It is built on a high terrace, the Kavak MeydanI, the Square of the Poplar, on the site of a 14C palace built by Beyazit I. In addition to the mosque and the avlu there are in the kulliye a medrese, a cemetery, a darul-kurra, and the Kavaflar Arasta.
Flights of steps lead up through formal gardens to the Selimiye which is built of red and honey-coloured stone. There are four fluted minarets on the corners. Each minaret is almost 71m high and has three sherefes. The pavement of the rectangular courtyard and the facade of the area where latecomers pray are of Marmara marble. The great door is believed to come from Birgi's Ulu Cami. The marble mihrab is placed in a deep apse, the lower part of which is covered with Iznik tiles. Note the exquisite openwork carving of the mimber which is also of marble. The muezzins' tribune. supported by 12 low arches, is under the centre of the dome. There is a small fountain underneath. The great dome has a diameter of 31.28m and its centre is 43.5m above the floor. It rests on eight massive piers which are fluted below, plain above. The sultan's loge is in the NE corner. Its balustrade, surmounted by a 17C lattice, is joined to that of the E gallery.
The Kavaflar Arasta, the Cobblers' Market, is the work of Sinan's student and successor Davut Aga. Added during the reign of Murat III (1574-95) its purpose was to bring revenue to the kulliye and to attract worshippers from old Edirne which was some distance away from the mosque. The shops now sell religious objects, cheap souvenirs and ornaments made of onyx.
The medrese at the back of the mosque on the SE side of the kible wall is now the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. In the entrance there are Ottoman stone inscriptions from mosques, caravanserais, fountains and hamams which no longer exist, and Ottoman period tiles, manuscript copies of the Koran, embroidery, weapons and glass. In the large hall there is an embroidered satin tent in which Ottoman viziers conducted their state business. In the side rooms there are examples of carved furniture and wood work from Edirne including the doors from the kulliye of Beyazit II. A separate section is devoted to objects from a dervish tekke. These include inscriptions, healing cups and medallions. One room has photographs, pictures and records of the Turkish wrestling matches which are held each year in Edirne. In the central garden there is a collection of tombstones dating from the 15C to the end of the Ottoman period. One marked the grave of Sitti shah Sultan, the wife of Mehmet Fatih.
The Edirne Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum is a few minutes' walk away. Opened in 1971, it has a fine collection of objects from Thrace and Anatolia dating from the Prehistoric Age to the Islamic period. There are Thracian ceramics, bronze fibulae and capitals with a spiral design, marble portrait busts, pottery, jewellery, reliefs, glass, statuettes and terracottas from the Greek and Roman periods. Note the displays of Greek, Roman and Byzantine gold, silver and bronze coins and the fine 2C AD Roman copy of a Greek statute of Apollo found in Luleburgaz. The ethnographic section has Thracian and Anatolian carpets, kilims, prayer mats and saddle bags, embroidered costumes, swords, scimitars, axes, bows, arrows, shields, maces and guns inlaid with mother of pearl, gold and silver. In the garden there are funerary stelae and architectural fragments. The sarcophagus by the entrance has some interesting carving on the lid.
'... the symmetrical design strongly emphasised by the four minarets and the soaring rise of the central dome is not far removed from the composition of a Leonardo, and testifies to the classical spirit of the Mediterranean. hus Selimiye may be regarded as the symbol of a layer of the Ottoman culture in the 16C which had unconsciously participated in the development of western culture. Finally, like all the other great mosques, Selimiye is the affirmation of the power of the Ottoman Empire, its religious foundation and its sovereignty over vast territories of Europe'.
In the gardens of the Selimiye there are groups of off-duty soldiers, itinerant photographers, pedlars, families taking the air and playing children, while in its isolated, sheltered bowers amorous couples explore their own private worlds. Stop for refreshment in the coffee house by the entrance to the gardens before continuing your exploration of Edirne.
Take a taxi to three of Edirne's outstanding monuments. The Muradiye of Murat II (1421-51, on a hill to the NE of Edirne, was built in 1435 as a zaviye for the Melevi order of dervishes. Later the zaviye was converted into a mosque and the dervishes were accommodated in a tekke in the garden. Note the fine early 15C Iznik tiles in and around the mihrab.
To reach the Beyazit Kulliyesi cross the shallow waters of the Tunca by the Bridge of Mehmet Fatih which was completed in 1453. The Beyazit kulliye is the largest in Edirne. In addition to the mosque, the complex had an imaret, a tImarhane, a tIp medresesi and a provisions store. The tip medresesi was famous for the skill of its surgeons. In the octagonal, domed tImarhane the insane were treated by musical therapy. The thrice weekly concerts were designed to relieve melancholy and give the patients spiritual nourishment. They were also offered flowers as their scent was supposed to restore their sanity. As in Bedlam, there were organised visits to the tImarhane. According to Evliya celebi it was an excursion much favoured by the gilded youth of Edirne.
The University of Thrace now holds art classes in part of the medrese. To the W of the Beyazit kulliye, in a meadow called Sarayici, the contests of KIrkpInar yaglI guresh, Turkish wrestling, are held each year in the middle of June. The wrestlers, who wear stout leather trousers and cover themselves with diluted olive oil, have a huge following in Turkey. Crowds of up to 100,000 attend the matches and for a week Edirne is en fete. It is believed that the contests started in the mid 14C, when the Turks first came to Thrace. The games derived the name KIrkpInar, Forty Springs, from an old legend. When the 40 heroes, who were the first to practise the sport, died in battle, a spring gushed forth from the place where they fell. In the 17C Evliya celebi wrote the following account of the sport.
'Young men from Rumeli (Thrace) gather here (in the House of the Wrestlers) every Friday. 70 or 80 pairs of stalwarts, all rubbed down with grease, meet to wrestle with each other. After the hug and hand kiss they catch each other around the neck and thus the fight starts... With bare legs and naked chests they often fight for hours, using all kinds of tricks, but not being able to have the referee and the spectators draw a conclusion. Finally one or the other manages to detect the weak point of his opponent and to revenge himself by trapping him'.
In the House of the Wrestlers the equipment of former wrestlers was kept iron bows, truncheons, unusual bows and arrows and greasy trousers made of buffalo hide, each weighing 40 to 50 okkas (i.e. 51kg to 63kg). Tickets for the contests may be purchased in Edirne's belediye, town hall, which is located near the gardens of the Selimiye.
The name of the wrestling field, Sarayici, refers to the saray or palace which once stood here. Started by Murat II and completed by Mehmet II (1451-81), it was burned to the ground during the occupation of Edirne by the Russians in 1878.
To the SW of Beyazit kulliye is Murat I Camii. Built on a ruined Greek church, this is in a poor state of repair.
Leave Edirne by the E5 and at Havsa turn right on to the E24. The town of Uzunkopru gets its name from the long bridge built during the reign of Murat II. The bridge, which crosses the Ergene Nehri, has 174 arches and is more than a kilometre long.
Shortly after (45km) Keshan the road climbs the pine-clad slopes of Kuru DagI before descending to the plain at the head of the Saroz Korfezi. At BolayIr, where the Gallipoli peninsula is at its narrowest, it is possible to see the Saros gulf and the Dardanelles at the same time. In 1358 Suleyman Pasha, the son of Orhan Gazi, had a fatal accident here while engaged in his favourite sport of falconry. His tomb outside the village is shaded by cypress trees. Nearby is the grave of the poet and reformer NamIk Kemal (1840-88). He longed to revive the heroic virtues of the early Ottoman period so clearly displayed by Suleyman and asked to be buried near him.
GELIBOLU or GALLIPOLI is the principal town at the northern end of the Dardanelles. Many visitors come here each year to visit the battlefields of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.
Information. There is only one hotel in the area on the Ministry of Tourism list, the three-star Boncuk Oteli in Sutluce Koyu a few kilometres to the S of Gelibolu. However, there is ample accommodation across the strait in canakkale.
To visit the battlefields you will need either your own transport, hire a taxi, or take one of the organised tours. Tours are arranged by the Troy-Anzac and Ana-Tur agencies in canakkale. By prior arrangement these can be joined at Eceabat. A local supervisor in the War Graves Commission in canakkale looks after the upkeep of the cemeteries and the memorials. The Commission produces a useful information sheet about the Gallipoli Peninsula which may be obtained from the supervisor's office. For further information about canakkale, the Dardanelles and places on the eastern the strait, see Route 6.
History. Gelibolu is a corruption of the town's Greek name, Callipolis, which means the beautiful city. The fortress established here by Justinian in the mid 6C was restored and enlarged by Philippicus Bardanes a century and a half later. From the earliest times Callipolis was an important embarkation point on the European side of the strait. On his way to the Third Crusade (1189-92) Frederick Barbarossa, worried about transporting his army over the Hellespont, wrote to his son Henry, 'the crossing...is impossible unless we obtain from the emperor of Constantinople the most important hostages'. For Villehardouin, chronicler of the Fourth Crusade (1202-04), the passage was a colourful event... 'the Hellespont to eastward, with the full array of warships, galleys and transports, seemed as if it were in flower. It was, indeed, a marvellous experience to see so lovely a sight'.
In the early 14C a wild band of Catalan mercenaries, who had been recruited by the Byzantines to fight the Turks, captured and held the fortress. From here they pillaged the towns and cities of Thrace and for seven years resisted all attempts to dislodge them. The Turks gained their first foothold in Thrace in 1354, when they were given the castle of Tzympe by the Byzantine Grand Chancellor, Cantacuzenus, as a reward for services rendered to the emperor Andronicus III. Tzympe was not far from Callipolis and when shortly afterwards the walls of Callipolis were destroyed by a great earthquake, they occupied it. The Byzantines, believing that the earthquake was a manifestation of the will of God, offered no resistance. Apart from brief periods Callipolis remained in Turkish hands thereafter and was developed as a naval base.
The ruined Byzantine castle in the inner harbour was used as a prison during the Ottoman period. Incarcerated here for six months in 1666 was Sabbatai Zvi, the False Messiah. The son of a Jewish poulterer from Smyrna (Izmir), he was born on the Ninth of Av, an auspicious day in the Jewish calendar. Hailed from infancy as the long awaited Messiah, Sabbatai proclaimed his divine status in 1666 and many Jews in the Ottoman empire and in other countries accepted his claims. His activities soon came to the notice of the authorities and he was brought before Mehmet IV in Edirne. Accused of treason and of deceiving the people, he was told that the penalty for these crimes was a slow and painful death. He would be dragged naked behind a spirited horse until he expired. In the face of this threat Sabbatai's resolve crumbled. He renounced his claims, apostasied and, accepting the turban, became a Muslim.
Gelibolu's modest free-standing bedesten has six domes in two rows. The fine 15C namazgah dates from 1407. Note the use of ancient marble in the structure and the two mimbers which flank the mihrab. A number of famous Turkish sailors were buried in Gelibolu. Among them was Piri Reis (14651554), the swashbuckling Mediterranean pirate who helped Selim I in his Egyptian campaign and wrote the great Ottoman geographical compendium, the Kitab-1-Bahriye or Book of the Sea. He is commemorated in Gelibolu by a statue on the sea front and a small museum.
In 405 BC the final and decisive battle of the Peloponnesian War took place at the CumalI cayI, the Aegospotami or Goat's River of the Greeks, c 13km SW of Gelibolu. The Athenians camped here. Lysander and the Spartans were at Lampsacus on the other side of the strait. For five days the Athenians sailed to Lampsacus and challenged the Spartans to fight. Each day the challenge was ignored. After the Athenians had returned to Aegospotami on the fifth day and started their daily search of the country.
Side for food, Lysander attacked. There was little resistance, as most of the Athenians were away from their camp. The Spartans captured 170 triremes and cold-bloodedly massacred about 3000 Athenians found on them. The theory of the 5C BC philosopher Anaxagoras of Clazomenae that the heavenly bodies were made of stone wrenched from the earth and made incandescent by their motion may have been influenced by the fall of a meteorite in the neighbourhood of Aegospotami in 467.
All that remains on the site of ancient Sestus, an Aeolian colony estab. lished in the 7C BC, are the ruined medieval walls and castle. Sestus has associations with the ill-fated lovers Hero and Leander, with Xerxes, with Alexander the Great and with Lord Byron. (See Abydus in Route 6.)
On 25 April 1915 the first Allied troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. From the beginning things went badly. A signals failure sent the ANZAC contingent to the wrong beach where they were pinned down by enemy fire. The Anglo-French landing fared little better. It met fierce resistance and suffered heavy losses. During the eight months of the campaign the Allies were able to make little progress inland. Their Turkish opponents were commanded brilliantly by Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) who told his soldiers, 'I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die'.
During the campaign acts of great bravery were performed by the soldiers of both sides. On the day of the first landings Australian troops were led ashore by teenage British midshipmen, two of whom were in their first term at Dartmouth Naval College.
The cemeteries are in two groups, one to the NW of Eceabat, the other near the tip of the Thracian Chersonese. To visit the first group, look out for a signposted turning on the right by Kilye Bay just to the N of Eceabat. This will bring you to Anzac Cove. En route you pass the Kabate Museum where there are displays of photographs, maps, weapons and militaria found in the area. Shortly after reaching the coast, the road turns N and runs parallel with the sea. Here above the quiet, peaceful cove more than 3000 soldiers are buried in nine cemeteries. Their names, Shell Green, Shrapnel Valley, Beach, Plugge's Plateau, ArI Burnu, Canterbury, No. 2 Outpost, N.Z. No. 2 Outpost and Embarkation Pier, are poignant reminders of the dreadful and tragic events which took place here in 1915.
To the N of the beach, near the Salt Lake, there are four cemeteries, Azmak, Hill 10, Green Hill, and Lala Baba, with about 5000 graves. To the SE of the lake is Hill 60 Cemetery and a New Zealand memorial where 900 of the fallen are commemorated.
From Anzac Cove a rough track leads up to a further group of cemeteries, to the Lone Pine memorial and a second New Zealand memorial. In the Lone Pine, Johnston's Jolly, 4th Battalion Parade Ground, Courtney's and Steel's Post, Quinn's Post, Walker's Ridge, the Nek, Baby, and cunuk Bair cemeteries a further 3700 young men are buried. More than 5700 more are listed on the two memorials.
The Turkish dead are remembered on conkbayiri Hill. Five great stones, like the fingers of a dead man's hand, rise from the ground in silent protest to God for the waste of human life which took place during this campaign. To reach the cemeteries near the tip of the Thracian Chersonese return to the main road and continue S to Eceabat.
At Eceabat, the 7C BC Aeolian foundation known as Madytus, there are frequent ferry boat services to canakkale. The promontory to the S of Eceabat was known as Cynos-Sema, where it was said Hecuba was buried (Strabo 13.1.28). The name Cynos-Sema, which means the Grave of the Bitch, was explained in an ancient legend. According to this, when Hecuba was stoned to death for killing Polymestor, king of the Chersonese, her murderers found not a human corpse beneath the stones, but a bitch with eyes of fire. Another legend says that Hecuba was transformed into a bitch, as she was being chased by the companions of her slain son Polydorus.
Towards the end of 411 BC the Athenians defeated the Spartan fleet, which was under the command of the inept Mindarus, near Cynos-Sema.
About 4km to the S is Kilitbahir whose name, the Lock of the Sea, is derived from a fortress built here by Mehmet II before he began his attack on Constantinople in 1453. It was linked with a similar castle, known as Kalei Sultaniye (now canakkale), on the Asian side of the straits. The Allies lost three battleships and almost 3000 sailors in a failed attempt to take the castles in 1915.
The road follows the coast for a short distance to the S of Kilitbahir then turns inland to AlcItepe where it divides. The right fork will take you to Twelve Tree Copse cemetery, where there are 3660 burials and a New Zealand memorial. At Pink Farm cemetery there are 610 graves.
The Ilyasbaba Burnu, the ancient Mastusia Promontory, is the westernmost point of the Thracian Chersonese. Near the tip are the Lancashire Landing and V Beach cemeteries, where more than 1900 rest. From the cliff top Turkish gunners mowed down Allied soldiers as they attempted to make a landing here in 1915. The slaughter was so great that the sea was red with blood for a great distance from the shore.
The Helles Memorial, an obelisk more than 30m high, which commemorates those whose graves are unknown or who were lost or buried at sea, stands at the tip of the peninsula, where it may be seen by passing ships. To the E of the memorial is Morto Bay. Here in the French cemetery 10,000 French troops, who fell in the Gallipoli campaign, are remembered. To the NE of the bay is the canakkale Martyrs Memorial erected in memory of the Turkish dead. This is sometimes known as the Mehmetcik AnItI, the Mehmetcik Memorial. 'Mehmetcik' is an affectionate term sometimes applied to the Turkish private soldier.
The site of ancient Elaeus, a colony founded in the 6C BC by settlers from Athens, which was near the tip of the peninsula, was almost completely destroyed during the Gallipoli campaign. Schliemann excavated it and the putative tomb of Protesilaus, the first Achaian to be killed in the Trojan War. He was struck down by Hector as he leapt from his ship on to the Asian shore. Strabo says that there was a temple at Elaeus dedicated to Protesilaus. Alexander the Great sacrificed at the tomb before crossing the straits to ensure that he had better luck. According to Arrian, Alexander probably crossed the straits from Elaeus 'at the helm of the admiral's ship...half way over he slaughtered a bull as an offering to Poseidon and poured wine from a golden cup into the sea to propitiate the Nereids'.
It is estimated that 160,000 Allied soldiers and about 90,000 Turkish soldiers died on the killing fields of Gallipoli. Only 30,000 of the Allied dead are in known graves. Many of the fallen came from Australia and New Zealand and Anzac Cove is now a place of pilgrimage for people from both countries. They come here in search of the graves of relatives or just to see where so many of their countrymen, in many cases no older than themselves, died in the course of the ill-fated Gallipoli adventure. Sometimes groups of these travellers make fires on the beach and pass the night away singing ballads and drinking companionably. Then in the cold light of dawn they visit the graves of those who died too soon and pay their own homage in their own way. Perhaps they derive comfort from Ataturk's epitaph for the Allied fallen which is engraved on one of the memorials: 'There is no difference between the Mehmetciks and the Johnnies to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers... wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well'. Return to Eceabat where you must choose between going back to Istanbul via Tekirdag or crossing over to canakkale and joining Route 7.